Marc Sneyd snaffled the interception try that sealed Salford City Reds second engage Super League win as they withstood a spirited second half fight back by Hull KR. Led by an impressive display from fullback Luke Patten and man of the match, Dan Holdsworth the City Reds emerged 34-18 victors in a thrilling game.
“We’re not playing with the composure that’s needed”,
was Justin Morgan’s assessment after the game.
“We worked hard to get ourselves back into the game. I thought we had it under control (at 18-10) but we couldn’t close it out.
“(But) we’ll dust ourselves off though, It’s not panic stations yet. Well buckle down and continue tp work at what we beieve in. It’ll come right.”
With coach, Shaun McRae still recuperating it was again left to Steve Simms to marshall the Salford resources. Suspension and injury ruled out props Roy Cashmere and Feka Pa’alleasina, with the home side giving debuts to Academy forwards Carl Marriott and Andy Davidson, whilst former Wigan and Wakefield centre Sean Gleeson also clocked-in with an impressive first appearance.
After seeing Australian forward, Willie Mason, put in an impressive 55minute stint in his first engage Super League outing last week, Rovers’ coach, Justin Morgan, was happy to start the burly second rower tonight. But Mason – who lined-up against former Canterbury Bulldogs colleague and current Salford fullback, Patten – was a largely anonymous figure.
Salford City Reds weathered early pressure from Hull KR to cross for two impressively worked tries in compiling a 10-6 half time lead, but it was the improvement in a hithertoo rickety defence that caught the eye most.
The Rovers got off to a bright start going close when Blake Green broke down the right. But after withstanding the early pressure, Salford responded well and looked set to take the lead when Patten linked-up to send Gleeson to the line only for the centre to be halted by a gang tackle led by the industrious Ben Gallea and Scott Murrell.
Gleeson was prominent too in starting the sparkling five man move that eventually put the Reds on the board. His inside backflick pass on the 40 meter line set Mark Henry clear. The supporting Patten and then Holdsworth took play into the 20, with the halfback’s pass sending Ryan Boyle through a gap to crash over at right centre.
Holdsworth, Matty Smith and Patten then combined in a sweeping crossfield move that ended with Stephan Ratchford sending winger Jodie Broughton diving in at the left corner. Holdsworth’s touchline conversion edged the City Reds 10-nil ahead.
Despite chances to either side it was late in the first half before the scoreboard man was disturbed again.
The Rovers finally putting their first points on the board in first half injury time with Green sending Craig Hall over at right centre after City Reds’ errors led to sustained Rovers pressure.
Yet, despite a nervy ending to the half the home side looked good value for their lead.
The second half began ominously though for the City Reds with Mason awakening slowly form a first half slumber and setting the platform for the levelling score with his first run of any impact. The possession ended with Hall diving over at the right corner for his second try and his touchline conversion edged the Rovers 12-10 to the good.
Salford’s shoddy defence showed its face again on 49 minutes when Murrell showed the simplest of dummies to sidle over at left centre untouched. Hall’s towering kick made it 18-10. Leaving fading memories of the sparkling first quarter as little more thany cold comfort to the home fans.
Home hopes were re-ignited though after Broughton’s inside ball sent Ratchford racing clear from 20 metres out, the centre rounding behind the sticks for the score. Holdsworth tagged-on the goal to make it 16-18.
Minutes later the shed faithful were shouting loudly again as Smith burst away from acting half back to put the City Reds back in front following Patten’s punchy run to the posts. Holdsworth again converted; 22-18.
And Patten chimed in with another piece of magic to pave the way for Gleeson’s debut try on 61 minutes, with Holdsworth edging the City Reds into a 28-18 lead.
Marc Sneyd’s late interception try, converted by Ratchford sealed the win and had coach Simms proclaiming:
“The defence was superb. We did a lot of video work (on Mason) and we handled him well tonight.
“Winning breeds confidence and they’re all happy as anything at the moment. It’s always nice to go out when you’ve won a game.”
Patten, Broughton, Ratchford, Gleeson, Henry, Smith, Holdsworth, Boyle, Godwin, Sidlow, Adamson, Nero, Wild
Subs: Neal, Sneyd, Davidson, Mattiott
T: Boyle (11), Broughton (19), Ratchford (50), Smith (52), Gleeson (61), Sneyd (77)
G: Holdsworth 4/5, Ratchford 1/1
Briscoe, Webster, Hall, Welham, Colbon, Green, Murrell, Wheeldon, Fisher, Watts, Mason, Galea, Netherton
Subs: Clinto, Lovegrove, Hodgson, Cockayne
T: Hall (39, 43), Murrell (49)
G: Hall 3/3
Referee: Mr. G. Hewer